2013 Team Outlook: Green Bay Packers

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2013 Team Outlook: Green Bay Packers

A fantasy football preview of the Green Bay Packers this season. Profiled players include Aaron Rodgers, Graham Harrell, Eddie Lacy, Johnathan Franklin, and John Kuhn.

Aaron Rodgers signed a five-year, $110 million extension last month, making him the highest paid player in NFL history. Fantasy owners owe him a debt of gratitude as well. Rodgers has been excellent in his five years as a starter. His numbers did take a small step back though without WR Greg Jennings around for most of the year. Jennings is now in Minnesota and WR Donald Driver has retired. Even with both gone, Rodgers remains a Top 3 fantasy QB. With over 4,000 passing yards in four of his last five seasons and 84 passing TDs in his last two seasons combined, the 29-year-old is in his prime. With excellent weapons at WR and TE, Rodgers should be expected to have another big year.

The backup gig in Green Bay has led to big opportunities for many other players. From Aaron Rodgers to Matt Flynn to Matt Hasselbeck many years ago. Graham Harrell has almost no regular season experience and is 28 years old. The only way he becomes relevant is if Rodgers is injured or the Packers enter Week 17 with nothing more to gain, which would allow Harrell to start that game.

Eddie Lacy's role will slowly be carved out during training camp and into the preseason. Right now, the Packers and the media have anointed him the starter. The Packers have a number of capable backs who will all compete for touches. Lacy will fend off Johnathan Franklin and DuJuan Harris. Ideally, you should draft Lacy as your third RB. This greatly minimizes any risk that he might forfeit playing time. It will be interesting to see how Green Bay splits the workload. If Lacy plays every down and is used as a workhorse back, he could easily contribute 1,300 total yards and a half dozen scores. That's high-end RB2 territory. However if he sits in goal-line situations or sacrifices third downs to another back, Lacy is a flex option at best.

Right now, the top RB spot in Green Bay is up for grabs, but Eddie Lacy was and still is the early favorite. The other back, Johnathan Franklin could emerge during the season. The former UCLA star is a solid dynasty add and a decent handcuff for Lacy considering his injury-riddled collegiate career. Both guys have the same opportunity and for all we know, the Packers may still use a 50-50 split workload. Franklin is going a few rounds later in the draft, so give him a shot in deeper leagues.

One thing is for certain, John Kuhn is costing somebody a fantasy win by poaching a touchdown or two away from the No. 1 Packers back every season. That just goes to show how potent Green Bay's offense is when the fullback is mostly known as a vulture.

Who is the starter? Could it be DuJuan Harris? This undrafted free agent emerged late in the season and compiled some solid production on limited carries. In the six games he played in (including two postseason games), he carried the ball 62 times for 257 yards and four TDs and added nine receptions for 81 yards. It may not seem like much, but for a short period of time Harris was thought to be the early favorite to start in 2013. That was before Green Bay drafted Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin. The point in mentioning all this is to say that Harris has proven to be capable. Lacy is considered the starter by the fantasy community, but the coach has spoken publicly that he views Harris as the starter. Keep a close eye on this one.